In Sept. 2009, I spent one month on Tristan da Cunha, the world’s most remote inhabited island. My interest in traveling there had started with a random curiosity one night at my desk, several months earlier: What’s the psychology of living in really remote places? I Googled “world’s most remote island.” I’d never heard of Tristan, but its history, and its very existence, fascinated me. Nat Geo Traveler offered me an assignment to visit, and after a week on a polar research vessel, across the South Atlantic from Cape Town, I reached the island. There wasn’t much to do there, but of course that wasn’t the point. Living idly in a contained community so far from the rest of the world, as if in a bubble, was the experience.
Five years later, Traveler has published the story. It’s not the story I wanted to write, or the one I’d write again today, or even really my own voice — but I’m happy to see it finally in print.